Thursday, June 3, 2010

Mental Health Day

            I could use another mental health day like the one I had a week ago. Last week on Wednesday, the school day ended at 10:00 and all of the teachers went to have lunch at a local hotel.  Then we all took part in a few activities intended to improve our mental health.
             The social worker showed a slide show about the negative aspects of stress and how it can affect a person. The slide show said that the three most stressful jobs are firefighter, nurse, and elementary school teacher, so it was important for us to work on lessening our stress levels. The slideshow also listed a bunch of medical issues which can arise from too much stress, including cancer. That struck me since I knew some of the other ones like hypertension, but not cancer. I'll admit to some skepticism at that, but still, lessening stress is importantt.
             Then we did a little bit of yoga, once again confirming that I do not enjoy yoga. After, the psychologist led all of the teachers in a meditation style activity. She asked us all to close our eyes and then she narrated a trip we were to take in our minds. We walked towards a river, then we all turned into birds and flew across the river. We ended up seeing a cavern from the air.
              We turned back into people and opened the door to this cavern underneath a mountain. Inside the cavern was a room which we were all supposed to imagine in whatever way we wanted. The psychologist then gave us all markers, colored pencils, and paint for us to draw our room. Everyone then spent maybe 15 minutes drawing what they had seen.
              The most amusing part for me of the experience was that the trip I just described might not have been the trip the psychologist described at all. While I knew 95% of the words which the psychologist was using, the fact that the entire narration was in Spanish meant that it is quite possible that I ended up somewhere completely different from the other people in the group.
              My suspicion of this only increased when I saw what other people had drawn. I drew a room with all sorts of things I would want in an ideal room, such as a computer, frisbee, bookshelves, basketball, my running sneakers, etc. Other people drew the beach or a river in the middle of a forest. One lady drew her house.
              I considered asking one of the other English teachers where the story had taken them, but I figured that would defeat the purpose of the exercise. Since I enjoyed the place I ended up, I figured it all worked out.

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